Features and performance
There is no phone book syncing for the SuperTooth Crystal because the unit doesn't possess its own dialer. Rather, tapping the Multifunction button triggers your handset's voice dialer, if present. This is okay because most phones that feature Bluetooth hands-free also have voice dialers and it's great if you're already accustomed to, for example, the iPhone's or Android's voice dialer. The drawback is that there's no way to browse contacts the way you can with something like the Parrot Minikit units and there's no audible caller ID -- not even a number, just a rendition of "Ride of the Valkyries" composed of bleeps and bloops. (Seriously, why do so many manufacturers default to that ditty?)
Holding the Multifunction button will redial your last call and tapping it during an incoming call will accept. Additionally, the Cancel button will end a current call or reject an incoming one. Finally, the Volume buttons work about like you'd expect them to.
The illumination color and blink pattern of the Multifunction button can tell you quite a bit about the SuperTooth Crystal's state, including the battery status (red for low, green for full), charge state (orange), connection status (blinking blue), notification of an active call (steady blue), and pairing mode (blinking red and blue). iPhone 4 and 4S users can also take advantage of the Crystal's ability to display a battery meter in the iOS status bar alongside the phone's battery level.
In addition to making and receiving calls, the SuperTooth Crystal also supports A2DP audio streaming, which can be used for music playback, but is probably most useful for increasing the volume of the turn-by-turn directions from your GPS-enabled smartphone.
Call quality was good on both sides of the call. I was able to hear and be heard clearly by the recipients of my test calls. I wouldn't go whipping around trying to hold a conversation with the windows down at highway speeds, but in our poorly insulated econobox of test car at a cruise, I was able to chat without shouting. The SuperTooth Crystal's audio output for music was a bit flat, paling in comparison to the, but these aren't boom boxes. Thankfully, the Crystal's audio is clear and full enough where it counts: in that sliver of the audible spectrum where human voices reside.
At an MSRP of $69.99, the SuperTooth Crystal goes toe-to-toe with the recently reviewed , which is the same price. The SmartTalk Solar's solar charger means that it almost never needs to be charged -- it doesn't get much more convenient than that. However, the SuperTooth model feels like a more expensive device thanks to its metal faceplate and snazzy magnetic clip. Plus, its Bluetooth connection endows the SuperTooth with neat features such as Secure Simple Pairing with no PIN and a visible battery meter on iOS devices.